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Fans flock to Morrison's grave

by BBC Wednesday, Jul. 04, 2001 at 2:53 PM

Morrison was found dead in the bath of a Paris apartment on 3 July 1971, aged 27.

Fans flock to Morris...
morrison.jpg, image/jpeg, 315x180

Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK

Fans flock to Morrison's grave

Fans of the late Doors frontman Jim Morrison have gathered at his grave in Paris to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.

Roger Mayer, Morrison fan

Elektra Records

Hundreds of people gathered quietly at the Pere Lachaise cemetery at midday on Tuesday, with officials prepared for between 10,000 and 20,000 people to file past the singer's grave.

Morrison was found dead in the bath of a Paris apartment on 3 July 1971, aged 27.

The cemetery has been a meeting point for Doors fans, who leave flowers and scrawl messages on his headstone, for the last three decades.

The cemetery has hired extra security for the anniversary after police used tear gas to disperse rowdy fans on the 20th anniversary of his death in 1991.

About a dozen security officers are keeping watch around the grave, allowing each fan a few seconds to file past the tomb and take a photo. Some placed messages while others left flowers.

"I wouldn't have missed this for anything," said Roger Mayer, 43, from Pennsylvania, who planned his holiday around the anniversary.

"He represented a certain generation," he said. "He represented life on the wild side."

One security officer said a steady flow of people had visited the site since the cemetery opened at 0800 (0700 BST).

Burkhard Goeke, 45, a professor of medicine from Munich, who also made the pilgrimage, described it as a special day on which fans look back at their youth.

Fans' devotion took the form of graffiti on the old headstone

"I listen to his music and read his poetry all the time and every five years I travel to France to commemorate his death," he said.

The fans will be joined by Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and band publicist Danny Sugerman.

At a screening in Paris on Tuesday, Manzarek and Sugerman plan to show a one-hour special on Morrison, a 1967 video clip of the song Break on Through and footage of the band that has not been aired for the public.

"The word is out that it's the 30th," said Jacquelyne Ledent-Vilain, a London-based executive for Elektra Records.

"The Doors' flame is still shining."

Ms Ledent-Vilain said she did not expect rowdiness: "I've heard that people will just go smoke a joint, drink something and kind of just talk among themselves."


One journalist said the smell of marijuana was "clearly noticeable".

The number of people visiting the Morrison grave has declined over the years but there was a boost in 1991 after the release of movie The Doors, directed by Oliver Stone.

Last year the cemetery agreed to renew the lease of Morrison's grave which was due to expire on 6 July 2001.

A French coroner reported that the singer had died of natural causes due to heart problems, aggravated by alcohol.

The Doors produced six albums from 1967 to 1971. Among their top hits were LA Woman, Love Me Two Times, Light My Fire, and Riders on the Storm.

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